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Academic Decommitment

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I had been with XXX for almost three years. As far as I knew, I had no enemies in this business. I came from a good home, I guess. Dad was always busy with work, and Mom had her own life. It was just my sister and me, and eventually, just me and my cat.

I was in the middle of a deep-cover assignment—my second one when it happened. She didn’t have to die. She shouldn’t have been there. They found her and they took her and they robbed her of her life. I saw her future drain from her eyes. She was nobody as far as they were concerned; her only mistake was looking like me. I owed her for being caught up in this bullshit. I was going to find a way to help her.

My first was very successful: I infiltrated a terrorist organization in Belgium, fronting as a bed and breakfast. I managed to complete the mission and didn’t lose my soul in the process. For home and country, anyways.

I don’t believe in God.

I suppose losing one’s faith happens slowly, gradually.

As per XXX rules, I completed a mandatory one-month debriefing. I wrote about my experience, spoke to the agency’s doctors of varying psych degrees, talked to my superiors, and recounted every event that helped eliminate the Belgium cell as they recorded me. If there was one thing I was, it wasn’t cocky. I knew that the debrief was for my benefit, as well as theirs. It also helped clear my mind, a welcome respite in this business.

So when I went back into active duty two months later, I was craving any assignment they would give me. I was itching to get back into the field, and they knew it. They kept me sharp: trading off on physical and emotional training every other day to keep me on my toes. I knew it was all in preparation for the next one.

Because when you find yourself working for the people that I do, that’s all there is to it.


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